We need a food revolution – one that will transform the face of the planet and our relationship with it. That will be George Monbiot’s rallying cry when he came to Intelligence Squared to talk about the themes of his major new book 'Regenesis: Feeding the World without Devouring the Planet'.
As Monbiot argued, farming is the world’s greatest cause of environmental destruction – and the one we are least prepared to talk about. We have ploughed, fenced and grazed great tracts of the planet, felling forests, killing wildlife, and poisoning rivers and oceans to feed ourselves. Yet millions still go hungry. But, as Monbiot claimed, there is a solution. Drawing on new scientific breakthroughs, he revealed how technology could allow us to grow more food with less farming. He discussed the extraordinary pioneers who are changing the way we get our food, from the farmers who are freeing the land from ploughs and poisons to the scientists who are finding new ways to grow protein, fats and carbohydrate in the lab – with the possibility of making the arguments about plant-vs meat-based diets ultimately irrelevant.
Is Monbiot’s vision of an almost farm-free future viable or even desirable?